Amber Wilson — Trainee front-end developer

Amber is a trainee front-end developer at Edenspiekermann in Berlin. She has been involved with codebar since July 2016. She started as a student, then started organising the Brighton chapter before moving to Berlin and getting involved in that chapter. She is a regular conference attendee and volunteer, most recently helping out ScotlandJS & ScotlandCSS, as well as getting codebar Berlin featured as a community partner at JSConf EU.

You can find Amber on the internet at:

@ambrwlsn90 | Website

1)​ What did you want to be growing up?

I wanted to be all sorts of things growing up. Usually science-based things like a vet or biologist or an owl specialist (yeah). I don’t remember wanting to work in a more creative field like design or development, but I was always interested in those things as hobbies.

​2)​ When did your interest in tech start? ​

My interest in tech started before I can remember. Since I was around 5 years old I was lucky enough to have access to a computer. I’d spend hours on them at a young age playing old-skool windows 95 games like pinball, minesweeper and solitaire. I used the printer more than my parents could probably afford. I pretty much lived on MSN messenger and enjoyed making GIFs of McFly and Green Day. At 10, I chose to take a course on building a website with HTML and CSS and I was enchanted. My interest only ever grew from there.

3) How did you make the transition to being a developer? ​

I began to hear about people getting into tech with no formal study, but a whole lot of determination and practice. This sounded great to me coming from an academic background of psychology where no study meant no job. I happened to move to Brighton around this time and within a week I Googled “coding meet ups”. codebar was the first hit and I signed up straight away. My first codebar workshop blew me away and it was not hard at all to attend every single week from then on, despite having a full-time job. Around 9 months after first attending, I began my first internship as a developer.

4) What was your first development job? ​

I worked at a design agency in Brighton as a development intern where I got to grips with Angular, SCSS, sprint planning, user experience, JavaScript and all that good agency stuff. It was there that I discovered just how much I still had to learn. But, I also learned I could find plenty of support if I needed it, and every developer no matter how experienced, still feels that they have way too much to learn.

Every developer no matter how experienced, still feels that they have way too much to learn.

5) What is your favourite thing about being a developer?

My favourite thing is being part of a nice team where everyone supports each other with their work, plays to every team member’s strengths, and cares about their team’s personal growth. A close second to this is seeing the results on the screen that I worked hard for, and feeling that I have learnt things on the way!

6) What is the coolest project you have worked on and why? ​

I think the coolest project I’ve worked on is my own website (sorry to be biased). It was the first proper thing I made as a developer and I love having it. I have plans for a re-design coming soon and I really love how your own site provides the perfect ground for experimenting with new code and designs.

8) You recently moved to Berlin from Brighton, does the tech scene differ in anyway?

I’d say there is not much of a difference. The only real difference was that most people’s accents changed! Apart from that, people have similar ideas and use similar technologies. So, I can easily get on their level when discussing tech topics, which is nice.

9)​ How did you get involved with codebar? ​

I got involved initially as a student and when I found my internship, I absolutely didn’t want to stop attending. There was an opening for an organiser and I joined. I love the feeling of giving back to a cause that helped and supported me so enormously. When I left Brighton, I joined as an organiser at codebar Berlin which I am absolutely loving. The coaches, students, hosts and organisers are all just as wonderful as in Brighton.

10)​ Why do you keep coming back to codebar? ​

It’s not hard for me to keep coming back. I only ever want to do more for codebar and at the moment myself and the other organisers are creating special events that will be held outside of regular workshops. The community and the continued support that I receive from people I meet at codebar continues to be incredibly important for me, and has really helped me settle into Berlin and feel happy living here.

11) What are your plans for the future? ​

I plan to become a JavaScript expert. Haha, just kidding. That doesn’t exist. But I do plan to keep working hard, being present in the tech community, creating personal projects and improving my skills — both development skills and working well in an agile team setting.

12)​ What advice would you give to aspiring developers?

I have lots of advice and I love to give it :P One of my favourite pieces of advice for aspiring developers is to attend events and meet ups, to talk to people and ask them questions. I think these are quite important things because learning to be a developer isn’t without its frustrations and roadblocks, and if you are learning in isolation, these things may become magnified. Whenever I am stressed or feeling hopeless while learning, I reach out to friends in tech who remind me it’s normal and that everyone feels that way sometimes, which really helps me feel better and motivated to continue.